KOCHI: The Karnataka government has launched caravan tourism – family oriented tours – to boost the tourism sector badly hit by Covid-19.In neighbouring Kerala, an entrepreneur who saw huge potential for caravan tourism here way back in 2015 and even launched a company after investing over `30 lakh continues to run after government babus for an official nod to start the service. It was after working in various countries that techie-turned-promoter Bibi Samuel of Kottayam decided to start a caravan tourism firm in Kerala. He imported a campervan and started the firm CampInn Caravan.
Though the firm was officially inaugurated by then tourism minister A P Anil Kumar with much fanfare, Bibi has been unable to rent out the camper to any customer till now despite getting several enquiries. “The Motor Vehicles Department cites flimsy reasons to not grant me permission to run the service. I have all necessary documents, but officers in Kerala find some reason to delay the process. I have been to the transport commissioner’s office many times in the past four years highlighting the issue, but there has been no positive response,” Bibi said. He said campervans are famous in every other country and Kerala has a huge potential to become a camper van destination.
“I even tied-up with private estates at various tourist destinations to park the van. With the pandemic raging on, campervans can be the safest option for tourists coming to Kerala. The state government should support campervan tourism as it does not require permanent facilities in tourist destinations. It will not harm the environment compared to conventional tourism infrastructure,” he said.
A senior Road Transport Officer not wishing to be named said only vehicles specified in the Motor Vehicles Act will get registration here. “Campervans are not in the rules and there is no clarity on their registration process as they are not motorised vehicles. There is confusion which is causing the delay. A new rule should be brought in specifically for campervans,” the officer said.